Star Trek: Voyager’s Ensign Kim, more specifically, his lack of promotion, has been the subject of discussion for many years.
Why didn’t Ensign Kim (Garrett Wang) ever get a promotion? Though Wang was told someone had to be the ensign, that wasn’t a just reason to not promote him. After Wesley Crusher left Star Trek: The Next Generation, the series did not have an ensign on the bridge or as part of the main cast. The same came be said for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. So, no, someone didn’t have to be an ensign. Still, Kim didn’t get a promotion.
Fans have been wanting to see Wang return to a Star Trek series, showing a higher rank as he deserved. Alas, that hasn’t happened yet, but there’s always hope. Until then, there’s Star Trek Online: Incursion, the free-to-play MMORPG, which brings back Kim to the franchise while adding pips to his collar.
Star Trek: Voyager missed an opportunity, but that doesn’t mean other series have to.
While it’s great to have Wang back in any format, it’s still not equitable for his character to never have an in-canon promotion. Star Trek: Picard showed Tuvok with a promotion to Admiral, and Terry Matalas wanted to bring in Wang, but there wasn’t time or resources to do that. But that does mean fans aren’t the only ones wanting to see Ensign Harry Kim get promoted to at least Captain Harry Kim.
While a live-action promotion would be preferable, at this point, Kim could return to Star Trek: Lower Decks as a captain to at least be part of canon. By now, Neelix could have gone through Starfleet Academy, been promoted to Captain, at least, and have his own starship. So, yes, it’s beyond time for Kim to receive the recognition he deserves even if Wang has embraced his forever ensign status.